Army to Apprentice: how I brought a different way of thinking to leadership
Stephen tells us how he kick-started his Barclays career as a mature apprentice.
Posted about 1 month ago
A plane whose overhead baggage spaces would fit no more than a handbag. A plane made by Germanwings. 1 hour 20 minutes later and I had landed. As soon as I had got through passport control my rather large suitcase was ready and waiting to be collected. My international rotation had begun. I was in Hamburg and Barclaycard Germany was my destiny.
I was lucky enough to have a couple of days off prior to my start date in order to explore the city, get to know my surroundings and settle into what would be my home for the next 6 months.
The weekend before my first day at work was spent scouting the local supermarket, the nearest shopping centre, signing up to a gym and of course doing my route to work in anticipation for Monday morning! I planned the route and it all worked out perfectly, taking only 20 minutes from leaving my apartment to arriving at work, what more could I ask for?
From day one the differences were obvious. The office is only 3 floors, of which Barclaycard owned about 2, a stark contrast to life in Canary Wharf. I had a desk too, my own desk!! This excitement was picked up by my boss who laughed and said he did not miss the hot-desking situation back in the UK!
Further, the canteen here is probably the size of a large meeting room at 1CP and it only serves one hot meal a day. Alas, the Germans often go out for a 2 course meal for lunch, so actually it works out nicely! Fresh air and a full belly! Everyone has been so welcoming and loves having new faces around.
The change of life is an experience in itself, and I have most certainly been thrown into the deep end, both from a language/cultural perspective and also a business perspective, but that’s what we are here for, and 2 weeks in, that’s why I love my job!